Candy Ride Colt on Top as KEESEP Book 2 Concludes


Hip 1062 | Keeneland

by Jessica Martini and Brian DiDonato

LEXINGTON, KY – The Keeneland September Yearling Sale added another million-dollar transaction to its total as Book 2 concluded with a solid day of trade in Lexington Saturday. A colt by Candy Ride (Arg) became the auction’s 22nd yearling to sell for seven figures when bringing a final bid of $1 million from bloodstock agent Marette Farrell, bidding on behalf of Speedway Stable. The colt was consigned by Don Robinson’s Winter Quarter Farm.

“Book 2 worked very well,” said Keeneland’s Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell. “We tried to cut down the numbers a little bit to increase the quality of the sale and I think that the numbers reflect that very well today.”

During the two-day Book 2 section, Keeneland sold 445 yearlings for $97,585,000. The average was $219,292 and the median was $185,000. A pair of yearlings sold for $1 million during Book 2, which comprised the fourth and fifth overall sessions of the 13-day auction.

In a larger 2018 Book 2, which comprised sale’s fifth and sixth overall sessions, 548 head grossed $87,103,700. The average was $158,948 and the median was $130,000. A single yearling sold for $1 million during the section.

“Going into the sale, we were looking for a very strong Book 1,” Russell said. “Obviously, we got that. And then our goal for Book 2 was to tighten down the numbers and increase the quality. And the huge rise in the median today and yesterday shows we were successful.”

The buy-back rate, which was 29.56% during Saturday’s session, now stands cumulatively at 28.18%, and remains largely in line with 2018 figures.

“That just tells you where the market is,” Russell said of the buy-back rate. “It is consistent to last year. So we take that as a positive.”

Taylor Made Sales Agency was Saturday’s leading consignor by gross, with 27 yearlings sold for $4,332,000.

“I think the market is very good,” said Taylor Made’s Mark Taylor. “We’ve had a great day of selling, but I think you have to be realistic about your reserves. People are being pragmatic and they are bidding very fair prices, but you can’t just throw caution to the wind. You have to know your horse and you have to know who is interested in it and basically assess the value. And if you do that, and don’t get greedy, then it’s a very fair market.”

The September sale continues with the first of two Book 3 sessions Sunday.

“With the way the catalogue is this year compared to last year, having fewer horses in Book 1 and having fewer horses in Book 2, has put some of those horses down in Book 3, so there is going to be a good level of high-quality horses still available in Book 3,” Russell said.

The Keeneland September sale continues through Sept. 22 with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.

Speedway Steps Up For Candy Ride Colt

Peter Fluor and K.C. Weiner’s Speedway Stable got in on the action Saturday when paying a session-topping $1 million for a Candy Ride (Arg) colt out of triple Grade II winner Always a Princess (Leroidesanimaux {Brz}). The May 6 foal was consigned by Don Robinson’s Winter Quarter Farm as hip 1062.

“Every single person on my team loved this horse from the very first sighting. He took my breathe away,” said agent Marette Farrell after signing the ticket. “We were underbidder on [$425,000 KEESEP ’15 grad and 2016 GI Los Alamitos Futurity winner] Mastery (Candy Ride {Arg}), and this horse gave me that same feeling; very easy on the eye, such a good mover and an amazing demeanor. I saw him at the beginning of the day and I saw him at the end of the day and he moved the exact same with the same look on his face. I think he can handle anything, we’re excited. We love Candy Ride. He’s an incredible stallion and we hope he’s going to be a champion.”

Speedway campaigns this year’s GI Santa Anita Derby winner and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Roadster (Quality Road), a $525,000 buy here two years ago; and raced fellow highest-level-winning Bob Baffert trainees Collected (City Zip) and Noted and Quoted (The Factor). Baffert will condition hip 1062 as well.

Speedway didn’t make any purchases in Book 1, but also grabbed a $290,000 Air Force Blue filly (hip 982) Saturday.

“Very hard to buy, extremely difficult,” said Farrell of the market. “Wonderful for the horse business, there are so many different entities here. Three months ago we were worried about the horse business and if it’s going to survive and here we are at September and it’s a new world.”

Farrell wasn’t surprised by how much it took to land 1062, adding, “We were underbidder on a really nice Curlin colt in the first book and we figured we were probably going to have to do the same thing. We got this one.” —@BDiDonatoTDN

Candy Ride Colt Blossoms at the Right Time

Hip 1062 always had the pedigree to produce a seven-figure sale, and in the time leading up to September, he blossomed into a physical specimen to match.

“He was so popular…I knew he’d be at the top of this sale or up there,” said an elated Don Robinson, who consigned the colt through his Winter Quarter Farm on behalf of breeder Arnold Zetcher. “He’s probably the most popular, well-received yearling I’ve ever brought to a sale. Bar none. And, people who usually keep their mouths shut told me this was the best-looking horse on the grounds, so I didn’t have to do anything. I’ve had three generations. I had the granddam and the mother at the farm, so it’s been nothing but a thrill. It’s an offspring that belongs to Mr. Arnold Zetcher, and the family produced his first Grade I winner that was raised on my farm, so it’s a huge reward. I’m absolutely tickled.”

Zetcher imported the colt’s second dam Gabriellina Giof (GB) (Ashkalani) from Italy, and she took her first Stateside start in the former Talbot’s CEO’s pink silks in the 2001 Manhattan Beach S. at Hollywood Park before finishing second in the GII San Clemente H. She produced eventual MGISW and $1.25-million FTKNOV seller Gabby’s Golden Gal (Medaglia d’Oro) in 2006, and foaled hip 1062’s dam Always a Princess (Leroidesanimaux {Brz}) the following year. Handed over to Bob Baffert like Gabby’s Golden Gal had been, Always a Princess turned in two-turn dirt romps in the 2010 GII Indiana Oaks and 2011 GII El Encino S. and GII La Canada S.

When asked if being in Book 2 might have allowed hip 1062 to stand out, Robinson said with a smile, “I know it did. Keeneland and I just got lucky. I felt like he would stick out. He’s a May baby and he came to the sale and, boy, in the last 30 days he was like a different horse. I thought he could be there, and he got there. It’s cool. And a good buyer and a good eye for a horse signed the ticket. She’s great.”

Robinson continued, “He was really nice, but he was always immature. Sales are so brutal in this era that it’s tough to get one who looks the part, and walks the part and for all that stuff to come together. He vets beautifully, and it worked.”

Always a Princess has produced a pair of prior winners for Zetcher, including 4-year-old Stylishly (Speightstown), who broke her maiden at Del Mar in July and cleared her first allowance condition there in August. Always a Princess’s 2-year-old filly by Bernardini brought $290,000 at OBS March, and she visited Bolt d’Oro for 2020.

“Very exciting!,” Zetcher said when reached by email while traveling. “There was a lot of interest in the colt, so we were hoping for the best. Bob trained the mother, so he knew the family well. Best of luck to the new owners!” —@BDiDonatoTDN

‘Sweet’ Day for Robinson

As if the million-dollar sale of hip 1062 wasn’t enough, Winter Quarter Farm sold another high-priced son of Candy Ride later in the session when Sapphire Stable went to $650,000 for hip 1109. The second Candy Ride colt was bred by Ron and Deborah McAnally out of their MSW and MGISP Charm the Maker (Empire Maker). Ron McAnally also trained the second dam of hip 1062.

“I was high on both horses–they’re both family members,” Winter Quarter’s Don Robinson said. “This horse wasn’t as popular as the other one, but almost. It’s an incredible family, so I’m thrilled. Everybody’s happy. It’s been an amazing day–probably as strong a day as I’ve had at the sales in a long time.”

Robinson consigned this year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred Yearling topper, a Malibu Moon filly who set a sale record at $775,000.

Hip 1109 received a timely update when his 3-year-old full-sister She’s Our Charm (Candy Ride {Arg})–a $600,000 buyback 24 months ago–annexed a Del Mar maiden special weight at second asking Aug. 18 under Hall of Famer McAnally’s tutelage. The McAnallys bred and campaigned hip 1109’s next two dams: GSW Charm the Giant (Ire) (Giant’s Causeway) and MGSW/GISP Olympic Charmer (Olympio). Charm the Maker is half to last year’s GII John Henry Turf Championship S. winner Liam the Charmer (Smart Strike).

Hip 1109 is bred on the same cross as Grade I winner Separationofpowers.

“They were just stick-outs in Book 2,” Robinson said of the two Candy Ride colts. “They were probably borderline Book 1 types. Really, I love to be the big fish in the little pond. They just really stuck out, and that helped a lot. I had a Tapit horse in the first book [who was withdrawn], but there were [35] other Tapits in there. It just wasn’t there.”–@BDiDonatoTDN

Into Mischief Colt to Baffert

The partnership of SF Racing, Starlight Racing and Madaket Racing, this time joined by Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet, struck late in Saturday’s session of the Keeneland September sale, going to $650,000 to acquire a colt by Into Mischief.

“This was a horse that [Stonestreet’s] John Moynihan identified as a horse they loved also,” said SF’s Tom Ryan as bloodstock agent Donato Lanni signed the ticket on hip 1239</. “Into Mischief is a very established stallion that everyone wants a piece of at the moment.”

The colt, out of Keysong (Songandaprayer), is a New York-bred, but will join all of the partners’ purchases at the Southern California barn of trainer Bob Baffert, Ryan confirmed.

The yearling was bred and consigned to the September sale by Becky Thomas’s Sequel New York. Thomas purchased Keysong for $75,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale.

“The mares that I bring to New York are mares that I would bring anywhere,” Thomas said. “I try to produce winners. She is a very pretty Songandaprayer mare–she’s really racy. She is a big, scopey mare. So I thought it was a good cross for Into Mischief. Into Mischief is one of those sires that all along the way, I’ve tried to breed to. He’s a wonderful sire.”


Union Rags Colt Heads West

A colt by Union Rags will be heading west after selling for $650,000 to the bid of bloodstock agent David Ingordo early in Saturday’s fifth session of the Keeneland September sale.

“He’s going to end up with a client of John Shirreffs who likes Union Rags a lot,” Ingordo said. “He is going to end up in California.”

Shirreffs trains Express Train (Union Rags) for Lee and Susan Searing’s C R K Stable. That 2-year-old colt, a $500,000 Keeneland September purchase last year, romped home a

14 1/4-length maiden winner at Del Mar Aug. 28.

The yearling (hip 992) is out of graded stakes winner Sky Girl (Sky Mesa), a half-sister to champion Abel Tasman (Quality Road). He was consigned and bred by Greg Goodman’s Mt. Brilliant Farm, which purchased Sky Girl with this foal in utero for $1.5 million at the 2017 Keeneland November sale. The mare was bred to Quality Road this year.

Yearlings by Lane’s End’s Union Rags have been in demand this week in Lexington, with his 21 selling for an average of $369,143 including a pair of $1-million youngsters.

“I am a Union Rags man,” admitted Ingordo, who also serves as a bloodstock advisor at Lane’s End. “I love Union Rags. We’ve got [Hronis Racing’s multiple graded stakes winner] Catalina Cruiser with John Sadler, we have Express Train with John Shirreffs. My wife [trainer Cherie DeVaux] has a nice one that ran yesterday named Dinar [third at Churchill Downs]. Union Rags is a horse who is going to do a Quality Road. He’s got really good books in front of him, he’s got some top horses on the track. I never got off Union Rags and he’s pretty good value for money right now.”

Ingordo, an active buyer throughout Saturday’s session, admitted there was plenty of competition for the top lots this week at Keeneland.

“The way the market is going, we were underbidder on some very expensive horses multiple times over yesterday,” he said. “I know the same people are getting pushed back. You always want to buy the best horse you can for the most reasonable price you can, so we were happy with where we were at with this one.” —JessMartiniTDN

Juddmonte Still Active at the End of Book 2

Juddmonte Farms Manager Garrett O’Rourke stuck around almost to the end of Saturday’s second and final Book 2 session, and came away with a $650,000 Uncle Mo colt for Khalid Abdullah’s operation. Hip 1256 was offered by Paramount Sales, Agent CVIII on behalf of breeder Don Alberto Corporation.

“Now that we’re in Book 2, the number that have the credentials that he had, which is good looks, by a top sire, also with a lovely female pedigree.. are going to thin out considerably,” O’Rourke said before pausing to make shipping arrangements for the colt. “He’s just a colt from a lovely King Ranch family that I’ve really admired over the years as well. It’s nice to get into something along those lines, and again just looking for horses today who, if they could hit the top line, could ultimately be stallion prospects.”

Don Alberto paid $240,000 for unraced dam Lost Empire (Empire Maker) in foal to Giant’s Causeway at the 2014 Keeneland November sale. Lost Empire is out of GSW La Reina (A.P. Indy), making her a half to GSW Chief Havoc (Giant’s Causeway) and a granddaughter of champion Queena (Mr. Prospector).

This is the extremely deep female family developed by Emory Hamilton and her family that has produced contemporary Grade I winners like Verrazano, Keen Ice and Somali Lemonade.

It didn’t hurt that hip 1256 is out of a mare by Empire Maker, the Juddmonte homebred and MGISW who started his stud career at the nursery.

“I wouldn’t say that it was the primary factor, but obviously there’s a fondness there that I’ve always had for the horse, so it’ll be nice to be bringing back some of the genes,” O’Rourke said. “He didn’t quite resemble [Empire Maker], I don’t think, but at the same time between the Empire Maker and the Uncle Mo and back to that Queena family, you’re talking about nothing but Classic bloodlines. Hopefully he can follow his genes.”

Hip 1256 is bred on the same cross as 2016 GI Wood Memorial S. winner and promising young sire Outwork.

For the sale, Juddmonte has purchased seven yearlings–six colts–for a combined $3,225,000. Among its other acquisitions were a $900,000 Curlin colt (hip 278) and another $650,000 son of Uncle Mo (hip 484) out of a mare by another son of Unbridled in Unbridled’s Song, the sire of Juddmonte monster Arrogate.


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